Just grow something! I’m not sure if it is in my blood or if there is a gene that gets activated when you start digging in the dirt but it’s very satisfying. It is also beautiful. Once you start watching things germinate, grow and produce results you get caught in the magic. (It’s actually science but magic is what it is compared to what is on many shelves these days.)
1. Growing things gets us back in touch with the earth in a way that has been lost by much of the last couple of generations in the developed world. we’ve become too urbanized. But it is encouraging to see the growing trend towards growing things. We’re also doing better at showing our children where food comes from and I hope schools continue to improve what they teach about nutrition as well as developing nutritious lunch programs. Many schools are also starting gardens. That takes a big commitment and knowledge on the part teachers and administrators but kudos to them! If you have knowledge or resources, volunteer them to a school near you. Let me know if there’s a good program near you and I will be sure to tweet about it. If everyone grows up knowing how to grow just imagine the change that would make! Back to their grandparents and great grandparents eras.
2. Get your kids involved in growing things at home . Even very small kids can learn to sow seeds, water things (with help to avoid plant drowning!). If nothing else when they are small they can help dig holes. They need supervision and you will lose some plants but they learn very quickly to be gentle with small growing things. And they love eating the results.
3. Growing things in the kitchen with your grandkids is fun. I’ve grown plants from seeds and cuttings from the kitchen with my kids and more recently my grandson including lemon, grapefruit and orange, apple, avocado, celery, potatoes, garlic chives. Probably many more. We grow herbs too. To be trusted to use my excellent herb scissors is a bonus my grandson earns. We do need a bigger window sill though.
4. The incomparable taste of fresh food is wonderful. It makes you realize how stale the things are that we are used to buying. You won’t want to stop growing your own tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beans, strawberries, you name it. It tastes better when it is just picked.
5. If you have to cut down a tree, plant another one. Or plant a tree anyway. Trees clean the air, provide shade, and provide homes for many essential birds and insects which are necessary to natural processes. I know this is not an every day item but trees are central to keeping our environment healthy and we are losing way too many forests all over the world to development. So we have to work at it at a local level as well as globally. As the Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.”
6. Grow a plant or two to help the air in your home especially if you have a lot of electronics and synthetic materials. Here are some examples. My favourite is the peace lily. It doesn’t need a lot of light, it thrives on neglect (great for newbies) and it was rated very high by the NASA experiment for removing toxins from the air.
7. Many people grow food in tiny apartments and on balconies. Grow something of your own. Whether in a pot, in a bed, in a greenhouse or a garden. You may even find it therapeutic. There is nothing like fresh. Even if it’s just a pot of basil.
8. If you can’t grow your own food buy at your local market and support those who do grow nearby. Things taste better when they come from nearby.
9. If you do garden, compost. It is amazing how much food waste that comes out a kitchen especially if you cook real food. Peelings, onion and garlic skins, veggie ends, tea bags, coffee grounds, (I’m lucky that compost likes coffee grounds). My small under-sink container gets emptied into the compost bin almost every day. But that way it rarely gets smelly either. There are many ideas for building your own composters on the Internet and particularly garden sites and Pinterest and many garden centre hardware store sources for ready made ones. The best are the ones that are easiest to turn so you can accelerate the process more easily.
10. There are many natural fertilizers out there to add to your own compost. Our local independent garden centre carries locally developed ones. My plants both houseplants and garden have also benefited from (don’t laugh) MooPoo products, from a family owned and operated company in California that has been doing this since 1924. They do all the dirty work, you just have to add water.